Safety measures on Dengvaxia dengue vaccine in place — DOH
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - December 26, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has been putting in place safety measures to ensure the health and welfare of some 830,000 school children inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gave this assurance, saying the agency is “focused on the more important concerns of parents, teachers and local government units emanating from the administration of the dengue vaccine” to the children starting in April 2016.?

“The DOH continues to refine our response and action plan in the Dengue Task Force to ensure the safety and best health outcomes for children who were vaccinated through heightened monitoring and surveillance, effective management of adverse events following immunization, activation of the dengue fast lanes in public hospitals and truthful and timely risk communication to the public,” he noted.

Duque added the DOH is set to convene an independent dengue expert panel this week to review the latest evidence on Dengvaxia based on a six-year clinical trial of manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.?

The expert panel will also look into post-marketing surveillance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the surveillance of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) at the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.

The DOH has also partnered with the Philippine General Hospital to conduct an independent review of the medical charts of children who may have experienced serious adverse events or died following immunization to determine their probable cause or relation to the vaccination.?

“Based on the latest update from the WHO, the five-year follow up data provides evidence of reduced risk of severe dengue and hospitalization overall among vaccinated trial participants but also confirmed an earlier hypothesis that those vaccinated with no prior dengue infection could be at higher risk of more severe dengue and hospitalizations. This risk persisted about five years after the first dose,” Duque said.

The health chief has reiterated the commitment of the DOH to monitor the health of all the vaccinated children in the long run as well as take responsibility for medical care should there be an adverse event that could be related to the dengue vaccine.

Stop speculations?

With regard to the various investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and both houses of Congress on the propriety of the dengue vaccine purchase, Duque has called on all concerned sectors to “allow the investigating bodies to do their jobs without being subject to censure, criticism and accusations borne largely out of unfounded speculation and suspicion.”?

“We leave it to the appropriate courts to conduct their own independent investigation and to determine whether all the legal requirements were satisfactorily met in the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine,” Duque said.

He said the DOH will also introduce the necessary measures to ensure the “observance of proper procedures in the introduction of new vaccines into our public health programs.”?

Currently, all systems are in place at the DOH healthcare facilities in the regions covered by the dengue vaccination to monitor, report and manage any suspected adverse event.

Risk communication initiatives have also kicked off in affected communities to inform parents and caregivers of vaccinated children on the signs and symptoms to watch for and where they can have consultations.

“I am absolutely certain that we can all appreciate a better outcome if we all agree to move forward and cooperated with each other in the task of ensuring the health of the populace,” Duque said.

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